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The St. John XXIII

Parish History

It's been 15 years, but we continue to grow. We’re young, but we have a lot to look forward to. As one of the most progressive, outreach-oriented Parishes in town, we like to think we’re making history, every day.

Our new parish community was conceived in the mind of Bishop John Nevins in the Fall of 2001, and Father Charles Sullivan was chosen to be the pastor.

  • Parish boundaries were established as Metro Parkway, Colonial Boulevard, Immokalee Road and Alico Road.
  • After an exhaustive search, Joseph and Roberta Noonan, offered to share the gymnasium of their school for our worship space.
  • Our first Mass was celebrated at the Noonan Academy on Saturday, January 12, 2002. At that time, Fr. Sullivan shared some ‘good news, bad news’ with our then 350 parishioners. The good news was ‘the money existed to build a church’. The bad news was ‘It is still in your pockets’!
  • Plans for the new church were undertaken almost immediately after our first weekend of Lturgies, and on March 1, 2002 we were canonically erected as a parish.
  • On June 20, 2002 plans for the new church building were put on display and shared for the first time with our parishioners.
  • Demographic studies of our area were made in late 2002, and we were amazed to learn that 25,000 to 30,000 new housing units were planned for the next seven or eight years. Since we expect about 20% of these new families to be Catholic, the study predicted as many as 6000 new families within our parish boundaries. So, the initial plans were changed to establish a Church with 1350 seats plus 300 more in the Chapel area.
  • In November of 2002, a huge Pledge Fund Drive kicked off with Gerry Faust, former head football coach of Notre Dame University. Speaking engagements, dinners and a Pledge Fund Banquet held in the Noonan gymnasium brought in the first pledges toward our $7 million dollar worship and office space complex to be built on Palomino Drive.
  • A ground-breaking ceremony was held on April 27, 2003 and we were on our way.
  • In April of 2004, the church offices were moved from the Noonan Academy to rental space at Daniels’ Center Drive. The Community and Education Center opened in June 2004 at the same location with Vacation Bible School.
  • On December 25, 2004, Christmas Day, a Mass was celebrated in a tent on the church property, and many of our parishioners got their first glimpse of the building under construction.
  • On Holy Thursday, March 24, 2005, the long awaited Certificate of Occupancy was received and Mass that evening was celebrated in the main nave of the church.
  • The church was formally dedicated on April 9, 2005 by The Most Rev. John J. Nevins, Bishop of Venice in Florida. There are 40 acres of ground and eventually there will be a Parish Center, Rectory and School.

The Narthex

As you are greeted upon entering our Church.

Narthex is a Greek word. In early Christian churches, it described a porch or portico at the west end for penitents and others not admitted to the church itself. Today it’s used to describe any church vestibule leading to the Nave. Our own Narthex is used as a gathering area, for parish functions, and for church ministries.

Life-Size Statue of Blessed Pope John XXIII – Greets you as you enter the Church Narthex. When the cardinals assembled in conclave on October 20, 1958 and elected Angelo Roncalli as pope, many regarded him because of his age and reputation as a transitional pope. Little did they realize that the pontificate of this man who was 76 years old would mark a turning point in history and initiate a new age for the Church. He took the name John in honor of the precursor and the beloved disciple, but also because it was the name of a long line of popes whose pontificates had been short.

  • Separate Areas in The Narthex
  • Sitting/Meditation Area
  • Lost & Found (Credenza under Mirror)
  • Shrine to the Holy Family
  • Passageway Leading to Restrooms

Stained Glass Windows in the Narthex

Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Mother Teresa marked the history of our century with courage. She served all human beings by promoting their dignity and respect, and made those who had been defeated by life feel the tenderness of God. – Pope John Paul II

Christ Welcomes All
This window represents the essence of our Credo “Christ Welcomes all men, women and children into our Church Family”. Everyone is Welcome!

Pope John XXIII
Pope John XXIII is shown wearing the papal Tiara, a crown symbolizing the threefold authority of the Supreme Pontiff: Universal Pastor (top); Universal Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction (middle); and Temporal Power (bottom). St. Peters Cathedral is in the background and Pope John’s Coat of Arms is to the right.

Picture of ‘The Pieta’ by Michelangelo
Picture hangs on the South Narthex wall and depicts the silent anguish felt by the Blessed Mother as she holds her crucified Son.

The Sanctuary & Stained Glass Throughout

Main Altar
The altar is solid granite and weighs over 5,500 pounds.

The Dove of Peace – The Holy Spirit
The Dove above the Main Altar is a symbol of innocence, peace, hope, gentleness and love. The Dove also symbolizes the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit descended upon Our Lord at His Baptism in the form of a dove (Matt. 3:16). The Dove is also used as a symbol of the Church, since the Holy Spirit guides and works in the Church.

The Glass Wall
The glass wall behind the altar separates, and at the same time joins, the Chapel to the main Sanctuary area. The Lector podium is to the left of the altar.

The Choir Area
The Choir Area is to the left of the altar, also one of the changes of Vatican II. The Choir is meant to assist us in worshiping through song, and not to substitute for us in praying through song. So, the Choir is no longer behind us as was custom, but should be visible to us.

The Tabernacle
The tabernacle, which holds the Blessed Sacrament, is to the right of the main altar.

There are over 20 stained glass windows in the Church. Some of them measure over 27 ’ Wide and 5 ’ High. The Windows were installed by Casola of Ft. Myers, FL.

Abraham Welcomes Angels (This is 1st window as you enter from left side in back of the sacristy)
The Lord appeared to Abraham with two angels. As Abraham sat in the entrance of his tent, he looked up and saw 3 men standing nearby. He didn’t recognize the Lord, but ran to greet them, brought them water to bathe their feet, and gave them food. It was only after Jesus predicted a miraculous birth for Abraham and his wife Sara, that Abraham realized the visitor was The Lord. (Gen. 18) Abraham’s welcome and generosity to the strangers is in keeping with our Parish Credo.

Christ The Good Shepherd
Jesus likened Himself to a Good Shepherd in the parable of the shepherd who leaves the 99 sheep to search for the one that is lost. The parable illustrates the joy of God over a repentant sinner (Matt. 18, 10-14). Those who have strayed must be sought out and brought back to the community.

Sermon on the Mount
This signifies a long discourse made by Christ during the earlier part of His public life, and fills three chapters of St. Matthew’s Gospel. The exact place of delivery is not known with certainty, but it was on some hillside near the shore of the Sea of Galilee, probably near Capharnaum. The Sermon is a summary of the moral code of Christianity. It contains the Beatitudes which are promises by Christ of specific rewards to those who perform particular good works, and instructions on prayer and the “Our Father”. Jesus’ listeners knew from this sermon that He was not just another teacher, but that he had divine authority (Matt. 5-7).

The Good Samaritan
This is one of Jesus’ best-known parables, using a Samaritan to illustrate true neighborliness. When two religious came upon a man who fell victim to robbers and was beaten, stripped, and left for dead, they did not stop to help him. A Samaritan traveler came upon him and was moved to compassion. He cleaned and bandaged the man’s wounds, and took him to an inn and cared for him. Like the Good Samaritan, we are asked to treat strangers as family, and care for them as part of our spiritual life.

Mary and Joseph Go to Bethlehem
Emperor Caesar Augustus was regarded in the Roman Empire as ‘savior’ and ‘god’, and he was credited with establishing a time of peace throughout the Roman world during his long reign. It was Caesar Augustus who decreed a census of the world, which brought Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem. While they were there the time came for Mary to have her child, and she gave birth to Jesus the real ‘Savior’ and ‘peace bearer’.

Jesus in the Desert
Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for 40 days and 40 nights. As a result of the descent of the Spirit upon him at his baptism, Jesus was equipped to overcome the devil.

Jesus Entering Jerusalem
Jesus coming to Jerusalem is in accordance with the divine will that He must go there to suffer, die, and be raised. He prepares for His entry into the city in such a way as to make it a fulfillment of the prophecy that emphasizes the humility of the king who comes. The crowds acclaim him as the prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee.

The Last Supper
This reflects the meal taken by Our Lord with the apostles on the night before His passion and death. It was at the Last Supper that He instituted the Eucharist and celebrated the first Mass. He gave the Apostles the power to perpetuate the holy rite. Note: Only one of the Apostles does not have an Aura Halo.

Mary Magdalene at the Tomb
Mary Magdalene was one of the women who went to the tomb, bringing spices so that they might anoint Jesus. When they arrived, the large stone had been rolled from the entrance, and an angel announced to them that Jesus has been raised.

The Resurrection
This is the greatest of all Christ’s miracles, and the proof of His divine mission. Although He worked many other wonders, without His Resurrection (as Paul states in 1 Cor.15:17) our faith would be in vain and we would still be in our sin. Not only is it the foundation of our faith, it is also the pledge and example of our own resurrection. Easter Sunday is the Feast of the Resurrection.

The Chapel

The expansion area of our ever-growing Church

The chapel seats 300 and is used for daily Mass at 8:00 AM, and for the overflow during the peak season. The glass wall between the Chapel and the main Worship Area allows everyone to participate in the Mass.

One in front right, and one in each corner in the back

  • Saint Jude
  • Shrine to Virgin Mary
  • St. Joseph with Child Jesus
  • Stained Glass
  • Mark, Luke, John, and Matthew – Entrance Doors to the Chapel

Prodigal Son – Reconciliation Room
The spendthrift son of the loving and wealthy Father vividly depicts the infinite mercy of God, and His eagerness to forgive the repentant sinner. (Luke 15: 11-32).

St. Peter With the Keys to Heaven – Reconciliation Room
Christ conferred on him the name of Cephas, Aramaic for ‘Rock’. The Greek equivalent being the masculine form of Petros, hence the name Peter. The call to follow Christ was given to Peter along with other companions as they were mending their fishing nets. He acted as spokesman of the Twelve. When he acknowledged Christ as the Son of God, Our Lord declared that such knowledge was a revelation from God, and promised Peter that he would build His church upon him – the Rock. Jesus entrusted to him His entire household, namely all His followers – this is the symbolism of the keys.

Stations of the Cross
The Stations of the Cross that line the walls of the Chapel are originals, created and made by Chris Scala who is an artist in Orlando. The depictions are a modern interpretation of the meaning of each station. Spend some time meditating on the meaning of each of the stations.

Mysteries of the Rosary: Chapel Windows

Joyful Mysteries:

  • The Annunciation
  • The Visitation
  • The Nativity
  • The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple
  • The Finding of Jesus in the Temple

Luminous Mysteries:

  • Jesus’ Baptism in the Jordan
  • The Wedding at Cana
  • Proclamation of the Kingdom
  • The Transfiguration
  • The Institution of the Eucharist

Sorrowful Mysteries:

  • The Agony in the Garden
  • The Scourging at the Pillar
  • The Crowning of Thorns
  • The Carrying of the Cross
  • The Crucifixion

Glorious Mysteries:

  • The Resurrection
  • The Ascension
  • The Descent of the Holy Spirit
  • The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
  • The Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth